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B.C. implements permanent increase to assistance payments

Income and disability assistance rates will be increased by the B.C. Government alongside the first-ever increase to the senior’s supplement.

Those on income or disability assistance will see a permanent increase of $175 per month, while the senior’s supplement will see a boost of $50 per month.

The three increases to income or disability assistance cheques total $325 per month.

The Province said the increased payments will go to more than 300,000 B.C. residents starting in April.

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“This past year has been challenging for everyone, and especially so for those British Columbians already relying on assistance to make ends meet,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Now that we are seeing signs of some economic recovery from COVID-19, it’s essential we provide the stability of a permanent rate increase for people and families, including 49,000 children who live in poverty.”

According to the B.C. Government, this represents the first increase to the senior’s supplement since it was introduced in 1987. The rates will go from $49.30 to $99.30 per month to support about 80,000 seniors.

For those on income assistance living in special care facilities, their comfort allowance will increase by $20 to $115 per month. The Province said the comfort allowance allows people to buy basic personal items.

“This increase – the largest that people on income assistance and disability assistance have seen – is a critical piece in working toward the fulfillment of our province’s poverty reduction goals,” said Doug King, executive director, Together Against Poverty Society. “The permanent nature of the increase is critical in allowing those on income assistance and disability assistance to be able to rely on this support in the long term.”

According to Simons, the increases will cost the Province $400-million per year.

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